Mornings can be chaotic. Kids lunch boxes need to be made, bags need to be packed, and that work email that can’t possibly wait until 9.00am needs an urgent response. Arghhh! So you find yourself grabbing some of the kids left over toast or a sugary muesli bar and hastily eating it over a sink. And often evenings aren’t any better. Sound familiar? You’re not alone, most of us have been there too and it has all the hallmarks of mindless eating!
We need to empower ourselves with the knowledge that there are many working parts to digestion, and it all starts in the mouth. We need time to chew our food and to savour it in our mouths, stimulating our salivary glands to produce the first round of enzymes to begin breaking down the food we eat. Our bodies need to be in a composed, relaxed state for all the other digestive components to work too — for the stomach and pancreas to produce their special enzymes to continue breaking down the food, and for the small intestines to absorb all the wonderful nutrients from the food to nourish the cells in our body. This whole process works infinitely better when you (and your digestive system) are in a relaxed state.
You may have already heard of the term ‘mindful eating’. It is about paying attention to our food, on purpose, moment by moment, without judgment. It is an approach to food that focuses on your awareness of the food and your experience of the food.
So how do you practice mindful eating?
- Eat slowly and don’t rush your meals.
- Make sitting down to eat a priority.
- Chew thoroughly – ideally 20 times per mouthful.
- Eliminate distractions by turning off the TV and putting down your phone.
- Focus on the food. How does the food taste? How does the food make you feel?
- Stop eating when you’re full.